Donna Hudson can’t even begin to estimate how many English as a Second Language students she’s taught. When asked even about the number she’s taught as a volunteer, she still replies “too many to count!”
Donna was in Nigeria as a CUSO volunteer from 1976 to 78, teaching at a school in Bauchi State in the north of the country. Upon returning home, she had a difficult time settling back in Canada but found a teaching position in Southern Ontario where she could teach about Africa and multiculturalism. It was her difficulty in reintegrating back to Canada, as well as her deep faith, that later inspired her volunteer work. “I was lost when I got back and I had people care for me,” says Donna. “People accepted me for who I was. I wanted to care for people the way I’d been cared for.”
Donna earned her ESL teaching certificate upon her return and still uses those skills to this day. “When I recently read about the area refugee committee sponsoring families from Iraq and Syria, I phoned them up to volunteer as their ESL teacher.” She is also a long-time volunteer with a literacy program for Mexican Mennonite populations who are labourers in the area.
“One of the most precious encounters of my life was when one of my former students, Mohammed Sani Yunusa, a member of the Nigerian Foreign Service, came to visit me in Canada. I was so pleased to see him and introduce him to my family and friends.”